What My “Try Not to Buy” Year Taught me

What My “Try Not to Buy” Year Taught me

Here’s something I wrote a while ago

I bought myself a lipstick today. It was brick red. I bought it at an exhibition and kept it in my purse and headed to work. I thought about trying it on to see how it looked and thought about it for the rest of the day. When I came home I first ate dinner and played with the cat.

Halfway through a show I was watching, I walked to my purse and held the little box in my hand. It felt indulgent, almost wrong. As I pulled the tube out of the box and twisted it till the brand new brick red wedge emerged, I felt a bit naughty. Like a teenager breaking the rules.

You see. This is the first “thing” I’ve bought myself in months. It felt amazing to put on and make duck faces in the mirror right after. I’m still kind of reeling from the experience.

This is what sustainability has done for me. It’s given me back joy, excitement, appreciation and gratitude. Do you remember what your birthday felt like as a kid? What it felt like to be that excited to wake up in the morning and it be your day. Or when as a young adult all your friends would call you at midnight? Or how Diwali felt more like a festival and Christmas was more Christmassy.

Or how the shine wore off? Imagine having that sparkle back in your life? I had no idea that my buy nothing new year would have this effect. That a single lipstick would make me feel like a kid at Christmas.

I’d stalked this shade online for months. A dark red. I’d checked every brand and read all their ingredients. For months I’d add them to my cart and then close the tab before clicking on checkout. Till today – when I walked into a store to check out how they were displaying my detergent and saw these lipsticks. They checked all the boxes and today I bought it. And it affected me enough to sit down and type out all these words.

Here’s the science. When you buy something new, dopamine spikes, making you feel all sorts of good. This is the same response that drugs give you. But because the passage of time is unstoppable, what is new becomes old, and you need to buy something new again to fill that void. To give you that fix. And then even the new things don’t feel as good, but you’re caught in an endless loop.

Getting out of the “Loop” has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time.


The Lipstick I Bought was by Luaer

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